The French really know how to do snack foods right. It’s no wonder we use a French phrase to describe nibbles – hors d’oeuvre. This week’s insta-party is a variation on a very simple French appetizer. Fresh radishes dipped in butter with a smatter of salt are delicious in their own right, but slapped on top a little toast makes them slightly more impressive to guests. It also has the added benefit of toning down the in-your-face radish peppery punch. The radish is fairly abused for a root vegetable, but go ahead and give it a try. It’s worthy of more attention than being shredded and dumped in a bag of iceberg affords. If you have any radishes leftover, toss them with some oil and roast them. Sounds weird, but trust me, totally yummy.
Radish and Butter Bites (serves 2)
2 slices bread, lightly toasted and cut into 1″ wide strips
softened butter (this is a good time to splurge on that Irish butter that you might have been eyeing for awhile)
5-6 radishes, sliced very thin
Large grain salt, like Kosher or a good sea salt. I used black lava salt (thanks, Mom!) because it looks totally awesome on these, but any good salt will do.
Spread a nice, thick, unhealthy layer of butter (see Paula Deen if you need any encouragement) on each strip of toasted bread. Layer radish slices over butter and sprinkle with salt.
The delicate flavors in the radish and butter bites call for an equally delicate cocktail. Enter the gin martini. People will fuss and tell you they don’t like gin martinis. I was one of those people until last weekend. I was wrong. A martini is the PERFECT liquid vehicle to convey the herbal delight that is good gin. Try it, and let me know if you agree! Or if you spat it out and had to rinse your mouth with half a bottle of Listerine, I can take it!
Gin Martini (makes 1)
3 ounces good quality gin (I prefer Tanqueray, the husband likes Bombay Sapphire)
A teeny tiny splash of dry vermouth
Lots of ice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake 100 times (still not kidding about that). Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a bit of whatever herb you have lying around (or an olive or cocktail onion if no herbs be near).